His former classmates know him as "Tony." The professional world knows him as "Anthony." But, he is never called "Mr. Stratton" because "not even [his] father is Mr. Stratton." Ambrose alum Anthony Stratton '12 is a working actor who finds jobs both live on stage and captured in front of the camera.
Though he now can display his many awards and recognitions, including first place in the Region 5 Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival Irene Ryan Acting Competition, Stratton started like one of many Theatre majors at St. Ambrose. Only weeks after his May 2012 graduation he moved to Chicago to embark on his professional career in the theatre.
"I wasn't financially prepared for the move," he admitted. "I moved with only $500 to my name – and that was a gift I had received in a graduation card literally minutes earlier. I did it anyway, and it was the best decision of my life. It forced me to jump into it – no turning back – but it was a massive risk. I'd do it again in a heartbeat, but I would always advise others to have a better financial plan than I did!"
While in Chicago, Stratton worked as a waiter and server. He landed the restaurant job based on an Ambrose connection: alum Rachel (Mayer) Rameriz '09 was working as a manager. The flexibility offered by these jobs was just what he needed so he still had time for auditions and booking projects. One of those projects, the short film Nesting Ground, made a festival run in which he received multiple awards for Best Leading Actor. The film still makes him proud to this day.
Today, Stratton lives in Los Angeles and continues to use many of the skills he learned while at Ambrose. He was a work-study student in the costume shop with Dianne Dye where he learned helpful skills, such as sewing buttons and hemming pants.
"We were held accountable for ourselves and the work that was expected of us," Stratton said while recalling his time at Ambrose. At times, it felt like being put through the ringer, but it was all out of love."
Stratton's advice to young actors is to remember, "You win some. You lose some."
"Truthfully, it's very common to book only one role out of a hundred, so you can't take it personally," Stratton said. "That's another thing: leave the work in the audition room. Don't take it home with you and rack your brain about the different choices you could've made. Honestly, I throw away my audition slides after every audition. Just let it go."
Stratton has a bright future ahead of him, and his hope is to continue his acting career.
"I don't find myself thinking about the future too much in regard to my acting career, because it's truly out of my hands," he said. "But I hope to continue to learn, take classes to stay sharp, and maybe one day, I can work alongside some of my favorite actors and directors to make a living doing what I love."